Former Spartan football players pleading not guilty to sexual assault charges

Former Michigan State football players Donnie Corley, Josh King and Demetric Vance — who were formally charged with sexual assault on Tuesday and immediately dismissed from the program — are pleading not guilty after a judge authorized warrants for their arrest.

Both Corley and King were arraigned in court on Wednesday, one day after Vance was. All three are being accused of sexually assaulting a woman in the bathroom of an apartment on campus during a party back in January.

King is facing three separate counts: one for criminal sexual conduct in both the first- and third-degree, and one for capturing an image of an unclothed individual. Corley and Vance have third-degree CSC counts against each of them.

If convicted, Corley and Vance could face a maximum of 15 years of prison while King could potentially face a life sentence.

Authorities say that King initiated the incident by forcing the young female into the bathroom and raping her, while supposedly filming the act on his cell phone. The testimony continues, saying that King then invited both Corley and Vance into the bathroom and forced the woman to perform oral sex on them against her will.

Attorneys for both King and Corley, who were in court before a judge in Wednesday, believe their clients are innocent and that the video will answer questions and prove them to be not guilty.

“I believe once we are able to open those videos, it will show this was consensual,” King's attorney, Shannon Smith said. “We have a very strong defense.”

“It's never a good day when a criminal charge is filed against you,” John Shea, Corley's attorney, said in a written statement. “At least Mr. Corley knows what he is facing and can get on with the process of fighting it. …The charge is only an accusation and Mr. Corley is presumed to be innocent. He maintains that, in fact, he IS innocent, and we intend to demonstrate that in the coming proceedings.”

The investigation officially came to a close (for now) on Tuesday when the charges were brought about. An independent law firm based in Lansing commissioned by Michigan State University concluded its findings on Monday and determined that head coach Mark Dantonio among the other football staffers and athletic department did not commit any wrongdoing, nor did they interfere with the investigation at any point.

Both he and athletic director Mark Hollis shared their thoughts in a press conference early Tuesday afternoon. Despite a lot being answered in the last couple days, as Kyle Austin of MLive lays out, there are still plenty of questions left to be answered.

Preliminary hearings for the three dismissed and charged football players are scheduled for June 22.